Tag Archive | "Sag Development Partners"

Breaking Ground at Bulova

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The former Bulova Watchcase Factory is one of the largest buildings in Sag Harbor, and an intrinsic part of village history. For over 20 years now, boarded up and empty — save for trespassers wielding cans of spray paint — the building that was once the economic center of Sag Harbor has sat shrouded with many village residents and businesses wondering when it would finally be given new life.

That time has come.
Heller_Bulova Watchcase Factory Renovation 11-28-11_5924_LRCape Advisors, Inc., a Manhattan and New Jersey-based real estate development, investment and management firm founded by Curtis Bashaw and Craig Wood, has broken ground on what is easily the largest redevelopment project in Sag Harbor Village history.

The firm’s project involves restoring and rehabilitating the former watchcase factory into 49 residential apartments. A 112-car underground parking facility will be etched out of the 2.29-acre parcel, which will also be redeveloped with seven new townhouses along Church and Sage streets, containing a total of 16 residential units. The firm also has plans for a landscaped interior courtyard and several private outdoor gardens. The entire property will be re-landscaped with native shrubs and trees as well as flowering and ornamental plantings.

A recreation center is also a part of the design, and will include an indoor pool and fitness room, as well as other amenities.
Heller_Bulova Watchcase Factory Renovation 11-15-11_4886_LRWhile from the outside, the former watchcase factory can be an imposing structure, on the inside the building is warm, arched windows allowing sunlight to fill the space. Solid timbers of southern yellow pine frame the 100,000 square-foot masonry structure, which surrounds a courtyard area allowing for even more natural light in each of the 49-units planned for the former factory building.

According to Arthur Blee, the director of design and construction for Cape Advisors, there are roughly 1,000 windows in the watchcase factory, and the units have been laid out in a fashion that allows the design to take advantage of natural light on all sides, as well as architectural features that already exist within the building.

One two-bedroom unit on the second story contains a total of 25 windows alone. A fourth story octagonal penthouse unit is wall-to-wall windows, and will offer unprecedented views of downtown Sag Harbor and the waterfront.

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There are vaults, Wood pointed out, that were originally used to hold the watchcase factory’s precious metals. Precious in their own right and clad in pristine granite, these vaults will be incorporated into some of the apartments as bathroom or kitchen spaces. In fact, noted Blee, these architectural details, like a fan of timbers on the ceiling of a second story corner within the factory building, will allow each unit to have its own character and design. While that presents challenges from a construction standpoint, project manager David Kronman noted that from an aesthetic point of view, it is ideal in its own way.

Blee, walking along a second story corridor, added that historically having this much natural light was likely critical to the factory’s operation, but that despite being over a century old, it translates well in 21st Century design.

“It is almost modern in that way,” said Blee. “It’s a simple aesthetic.”

While businessmen, Blee and Wood are obviously passionate about the project, and in particular the ability they have to reuse as much of the existing factory building as possible. Damaged and partially collapsed additions to the building have already demolished, but will be rebuilt. According to Blee, construction crews are saving and cleaning any reusable bricks — many printed with the word “Nassau” showing their origins on Long Island. Those bricks, along with others that match their color and patina, will be reused in construction.

Inside the factory building, Wood pointed out a section of timber and brick wall space that had been blasted with walnuts to clean them of age and restore them to their original splendor.

This is part of the firm’s commitment to incorporate environmentally sustainable, green practices in the construction. In addition to reusing as many building materials as possible, a green roof is planned for the building using low lying vegetation that sustains itself. The roof will also provide a landscaped area that residents of the watchcase factory will be able to access, while enjoying 360-degree views of Sag Harbor Village and beyond, while the re-development itself will reduce the amount of impervious surfaces on the property by almost half.

Cogeneration electrical systems, water saving devices and even solar panels to heat the indoor pool are also being considered as energy saving features.

An original fireplace will also be restored and will be the centerpiece in a grand lobby that will also feature what Blee thinks was an old steam driver, recovered from the factory building. The crew is saving many artifacts with the hopes of reusing them as design details throughout the building.

This kind of work is not new to Cape Advisors, which has completed a number of historic restorations for adaptive re-use in Cape May, New Jersey, including Congress Hall, which was originally built in 1816. Redesigned into a resort, including a restaurant, Congress Hall is one of many historic development projects the firm has completed in Cape May. Locally, Cape Advisors is also handling the renovation of the Baron’s Cove Inn into a resort, although the property is owned by another entity, and most recently has been reported to be contract to purchase The Chequit Inn on Shelter Island.

While this week Kronman did not comment on the firm’s purchase of The Chequit Inn, he did speak in an interview last week about the company’s commitment to communities like Sag Harbor.

“I think as a company we love the classic American resort town and the sense of history they have,” said Kronman. “Not everything is new and we love Sag Harbor’s Main Street. Cape May is different, but very similar in its own way. It developed as America’s first seaside resort. One of our hotels there, Congress Hall, was developed out of an 1878 version of the building, but it was originally built in 1816.”

“We think Sag Harbor is the best village on the East End of Long Island and is classic American, so we do find a lot of similarities there,” he continued.

According to Wood, Cape Advisors hopes to have the restoration and reconstruction of the watchcase factory completed by December of 2013, if not sooner.

While construction has begun, it has mostly entailed demolition of the existing, dilapidated outbuildings. Excavation of approximately 30,000 cubic yards of soil for the regrading of the property and the creation of the underground parking will occur this winter and be finished by Memorial Day. The firm will also shore the property line to stabilize the site, which Kronman said will begin in the next month and must be completed before any mass excavation starts.

During this period, according to plans filed with the village planning board, an average of 15-to-20 10-wheeled dump trucks will leave the site daily to handle excavation and will typically leave the site by 1 p.m.

Three routes will be used by trucks to minimize the impact on any one neighborhood, according to plans filed with the village. Arriving trucks will come down County Road 39 and use Noyac Road to Long Beach Road to Route 114 to access the site at its Division Street construction entrance. Leaving the trucks will take one of two routes – one southbound on Route 114 and through Wainscott to connect with Route 27 in East Hampton. The other will take trucks from Route 114 to Long Beach Road to Noyac Road to Brick Kiln Road to Scuttle Hole and out onto Montauk Highway.

Sediment controls, to prevent any soil from leaving the site, as well as dust and odor controls and a community air quality monitoring program will be implemented during the excavation and throughout construction.

This winter and spring, during the heaviest part of excavation, is when the project will generate the most of its truck traffic, according to plans filed with the village’s planning board.

After years of remediation work, the property has also been taken off the state’s list of Superfund sites, reclassified as a Class 4 site, meaning it no longer is a hazard or public threat.

While the excavation is occurring, the factory building will also have its masonry restored, said Kronman. Construction crews will begin re-pointing bricks in the next few weeks with scaffolding planned for the entirety of the factory building, he said. Restoration of the interior will begin at the same time, he said.

Once excavation nears the depths needed for the garage, the concrete floor and foundation will be poured. That, Kronman added, will hopefully be completed before the summer.

Once a concrete roof has been poured for the parking garage, the seven townhouses and recreation building will be constructed. According Blee, they are viewing the construction of each townhouse, all created in different architectural styles, as the framing of an individual house.

Meanwhile, the roof will be replaced on the factory building. Once the entirety of the factory building is restored, new windows will be installed, and framing, sheet rock and finishes will begin on the interior. The last step in the project is to complete landscaping throughout the site.

“In any restoration project this large, there will be construction challenges, but these are the types of projects Cape Advisors is well versed in and we have been successful, so I think we have a good understanding of what a project like this takes,” said Kronman.

“Another major challenge will be that this is the largest project the village has ever seen or has ever taken place and we will be balancing the concerns of the community, which we want to be sensitive too, while understanding getting this project completed as soon as possible is better for everyone.”

Some Businesses Bothered by Bulova

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The renovation and restoration of the former Bulova Watchcase Factory in the heart Sag Harbor is likely the largest construction project in village history. For planning board chairman, Neil Slevin, it was expected the village would have to work with residents, businesses and the developers, Cape Advisors, to wrangle some of the headaches inherently caused by such large scale construction.

However, not even Slevin anticipated those headaches would be felt so early in the building project’s timeline.

On Tuesday night, at the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting, a small group of residents and business owners approached the board with concerns over the impact the Bulova project was having on their businesses and lives.

The Bulova Watchcase Factory restoration and redevelopment is for a 65-unit luxury apartment building in the historic factory building and seven townhouses, which will contain 16 of the units. A recreation center, with indoor pool, spa and an underground parking facility is also planned for the project.

Cape Advisors earned village approval for the project over three years ago, but just recently began clearing the site and erecting a construction fence in anticipation of groundbreaking after earning a new partner in Deutsche Bank this fall.

For Dolores Fenn, a Main Street resident whose house backs onto Church Street, the construction fence that stretches out on the street has made it difficult for her to get her car out of her garage.

On Tuesday night, Fenn said she was moving and was worried a moving van will not be able to access her home.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said that the fence was there for residents’ safety, but Fenn said she felt neighboring property owners should have been personally informed about some the changes taking place during construction.

“It has inconvenienced a lot of people,” she said.

Gilbride agreed all neighbors should have been personally contacted, and noted that the village has created a board led by Slevin to work with Cape Advisors on any issues that come up during construction.

“If someone got missed and we are not aware, call the village clerk tomorrow morning and we will get your number to Neil and if you have a complaint we will handle it,” said Gilbride.

Sharone Einhorn, the co-owner of Ruby Beets antiques and home furnishing store on Washington Street, said she was concerned about the closure of parking on Church Street and four parking stalls on Washington Street.

“We will not be able to receive deliveries and clients will not be able to put things in the cars if they cannot park nearby,” said Einhorn.

She asked the board consider opening Church Street back up for parking in the summer.

“Did you consider the small businesses in Sag Harbor and how this would impact them,” asked Einhorn.

She added the parking problem is compounded by the fact that the municipal lot on Washington and Division streets has become a seven-day-a-week lot, which has translated to people leaving their cars there for days on end.

On Wednesday morning, Einhorn said she would like to see that lot converted into two-hour parking, so that clients have somewhere to park nearby.

Einhorn also questioned how she, and the two other furniture stores on Washington Street, would be able to accept deliveries. Currently, when there is not parking available on Washington Street, as is often the case, trucks double park on Church Street to make their deliveries. Now, said Einhorn, getting deliveries will be difficult at best.

Deputy Mayor Tim Culver acknowledged the village could work to solve some of these issues, but said the village has been diligent in exploring all issues related to construction at Bulova.

“I think we did think about local businesses,” he said. “And the Chamber of Commerce was an advocate for this project and people in general thought it would be a good thing for business in Sag Harbor.”

Nada Barry, owner of the Wharf Shop and longtime member of the Chamber of Commerce, said that with Stella Maris Regional School now closed there is more parking near Division Street. Additional parking, some 80 spaces, added Barry, has also been procured at the former National Grid gas ball property.

On Wednesday, project manager David Kronman said that all of the construction workers at Bulova are currently parking on-site and not in public parking spaces around Sag Harbor.

However, when it is needed, Kronman said his firm has secured parking spaces at St. Andrews Church, Reid Brothers on the Sag Harbor/Bridgehampton Turnpike and at Baron’s Cove.

Kronman, who by late Wednesday morning had already set up meetings with both Einhorn and Fenn, said that working with neighbors was a top priority. His firm had already worked with Sage Street Antiques owner Eliza Warner, he said, to ensure her business had parking spaces on Sage Street when it is open on the weekends.

“There is absolutely a willingness on our part to sit down and solve any problems that arise and make this as painless as possible on everyone,” said Kronman Wednesday morning. “We want to work with all of our neighbors and be creative in coming up with solutions to issues as they arise.”

Bulova Project is Funded; Groundbreaking Expected This Fall

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The long neglected building and property in the center of Sag Harbor Village known as the Bulova Watchcase Factory is intrinsically linked to Sag Harbor’s industrial heritage. For years now, village residents have been left wondering whether a village-approved luxury condominium project would eventually replace the crumbling factory.

This week, residents finally have that answer.

Three years after it was initially approved for a 65-unit luxury condominium project on the parcel, Cape Advisors announced this week it has closed a financing deal with Deutsche Bank, its new partner in the Bulova project.

The deal was struck last Thursday, according to Cape Advisors project manager David Kronman.

In a press release issued on Wednesday afternoon, Cape Advisors and the Deutsche Bank Commercial Real Estate Group announced it has closed on a $60 million investment “to fully fund the development and rehabilitation of the Watchcase Factory Lofts” in Sag Harbor.

Calling the former factory building “a majestic red brick, nineteenth century industrial building,” located on 2.3 acres in the heart of Sag Harbor, the firms said they believe the “vast interior spaces and original architectural details will create a dramatic and unique residential environment.”

“We are extremely pleased that in these difficult economic times we were able to partner with Deutsche Bank in moving forward with this exciting project,” said Craig Wood, co-managing partner of Cape Advisors. “This fall, over 30 years after the Bulova Watchcase Factory closed, we will begin construction to restore this historic building and fully integrate it into the fabric of the Sag Harbor community.”

Kronman said he expects his firm will pull a building permit from the Village of Sag Harbor’s Building Department sometime this week. Ground will be broken on the Bulova project sometime in the next 30 to 60 days, he added. Once construction has begun on the property, the project is expected to take between 18 and 24 months.

“We are obviously really excited,” said Kronman on Tuesday. “We think it is a testament to the project and to Sag Harbor that despite the rough economic climate we were able to secure the financing to get the project built. It speaks to the viability of the project and the faith that exists in the Sag Harbor market.”

“Certainly, I am glad to see this move forward,” said Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride. “I wish them the best and I cannot wait to see this get started.”

The Bulova Watchcase Factory restoration and redevelopment is for a 65 unit luxury apartment building in the historic factory building and seven townhouses, which will contain 16 of the units. A recreation center, with indoor pool, spa and an underground parking facility is also planned for the project.

The factory building, which for 100 years operated as the industrial heart of the village under a number of company banners until its doors were closed in the early 1980s, has long remained dormant. The property, located at Division and Church streets, is a state Superfund site. Remediation is ongoing and required for the apartment project to move forward.

Developers have tried over the years to re-develop the property, without success, until Cape Advisors came along over four years ago.

The firm embarked on a two-year approval process for their plans — easily the largest re-development project in Sag Harbor Village history. What quickly emerged as the central issue during the review was whether or not the developers would include affordable housing on-site as per a requirement of the Suffolk County Planning Commission

Eventually, after much debate, the village planning and zoning board of appeals agreed to overrule the planning commission and accept $2.5 million from Cape Advisors to be funneled into the Sag Harbor Community Housing Trust.

In a deal reached last month with the village planning board, the affordable housing payment schedule was changed, allowing Cape Advisors to pay into the fund as sales of the units are closed. However, the village will be allowed to accrue interest on a first $582,600 once Cape Advisors secures its building permit.

In addition to affordable housing, the village was criticized and later sued over its environmental review of the Bulova project. While that case was eventually dismissed on a technicality, during the review process and ensuing litigation, the economy tanked worldwide and a housing crisis emerged. Despite continued pledges of support for the Bulova project by Cape Advisors, the Bulova building remained shrouded in scaffolding as two years passed.

All of that will change this fall.

“I am happy and I hope that this project brings life back to that building,” said Mayor Gilbride. “I am also glad in that while construction is happening at Bulova, it will be helpful to our delis, our restaurants, our shops, and the entire village’s economy. So we got a lot of good news this week.”